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Local women second in Sea2Summit

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Race goes ahead with date and course changes

In the 2003 Sea2Summit Adventure Race, the real adventure began well before the competition got underway.

The original date for the two-day race was moved back from Sept. 13-14 to last weekend after an elevated fire hazard resulted in the closure of the backcountry all along the south coast of the province.

Just one week before the re-scheduled race, record rainfalls washed out roads, trails and bridges, forcing the organizers to alter the route at the last minute.

"Someone phoned in and mentioned that maybe the Sea2Summit was not meant to be this year," wrote Dean Payne, the race director for Coast Mountain Sports. "We say that this is quite the opposite. In fact this is already the most memorable S2S on record and we have not even gone one metre of the course.

"We have all had to endure many logistical challenges and adventures of our own just worrying about the big day! Not even a bit of high water will stop us this time."

Day one of the race was kept as planned, with a long paddle in Howe Sound, followed by a bike ride and a cross-country trek to Squamish. Day two started at Creekside in Whistler with a bike ride south to the Brandywine Valley for orienteering. Following the orienteering, the racers got back on their bikes for a 40 km ride back to Creekside, where they began the traverse over the Northwest Passage to Whistler Village.

Both days were long for this time of year, with competitors finishing well after dark with the aid of headlamps.

Race times varied from less than 14 hours to more than 30 hours for some participants.

Almost 200 athletes took part as solos or as part of teams of two or four. Numbers were down overall from previous years, which the organizers are attributing to the date change and flooding.

A pair of Whistler women, racing as Team Sweep, finished second out of six teams in the team of two category with a total time of 25 hours, 20 minutes.

It was the first adventure race that Julie Waterhouse and Carlee Howell have competed in. They started training for the event back in February, however, and kept it up right until the beginning of September when the race was supposed to take place.

"After that I kind of fell of the wagon a little," said Howell. "We trained to peak in September, and when we found out that the event was moved back by six weeks we slowed right down."

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